Occupational contact dermatitis: the main signs of pathology

Dermatitis is a collective term in dermatology, which literally translates as inflammation of the skin. The symptoms of dermatitis can be very different:

  • redness;
  • itching;
  • dryness and flaking of the skin;
  • rashes;
  • violation of the barrier function, cracks, abrasions.

What is professional dermatitis and how to deal with it

Dermatitis appears as a result of a pathological reaction of the skin to an irritant. It can be aggressive detergents, allergens, unfavorable climate, hypothermia, low-quality cosmetics. But there is the so-called occupational dermatitis, which is the result of prolonged and regular exposure to the human skin of substances that cause inflammation. Skin contact occurs precisely during the working process, hence the name. Examples of occupational dermatitis include coarse red skin on the hands of laundries, and rashes and peeling in chemical workers. 

Recognizing occupational dermatitis is easy. It has several typical features:

  • occurs during labor activity;
  • during the vacation period, remission often occurs, or the main symptoms subside;
  • at work, a person deals with potential allergens and irritants;
  • dermatitis can occur in colleagues.

Occupational dermatitis belongs to one of the types of contact dermatitis, that is, arising from direct skin contact with substances unfavorable for it. At the same time, some of the workers develop inflammation, while colleagues may not have it – much depends on the time of exposure, specific professional responsibilities and individual susceptibility.

Most often, professional dermatitis is localized on the hands and face. A person can confuse it with other common diseases, such as psoriasis, so only a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis. Visually, dermatitis can resemble eczema.  

Dermatitis can be caused by a variety of chemical and physical substances: solvents, detergents, vegetable juices, formaldehyde, nail polish, hairdressing cosmetics, chromium, cobalt, nickel.

Most often, foci of inflammation occur where the skin is the thinnest and most delicate. This is usually the space between the fingers or the back of the wrist.

To cure occupational dermatitis, you should completely protect yourself from the substance that causes it. For this, protective equipment is used, primarily gloves, masks. But sometimes this is not enough and a person has to change the place of work in order to protect the skin. For symptomatic treatment, creams with barrier properties are used. A good effect is provided by emollients that can provide deep hydration.  

event_note August 1, 2021

account_box Dr. Peter B Milburn

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